The Pennsylvania Youth Surveys, commonly called the PAYS Surveys, is a tool
used to measure student's behaviors, attitudes and knowledge concerning alcohol,
tobacco, and other drugs. Every two years, McKean County uses the surveys
from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime
and Delinquency (PCCD) to find out what issues students in McKean County are
The voluntary surveys are given to all sixth, eighth, tenth and twelfth graders in each school district in the County. Once completed, the surveys are sent to a company who compiles them into a report by taking out the invalid surveys and analyzing the ones left.
The surveys are important because they help organizations in the area know
what issues young people are facing in McKean County. By providing this information,
the groups get a better idea about what areas need to be addressed.
For example, past surveys showed that students were beginning to drink alcohol at an earlier age. The Guidance Center, a member of the McKean County Collaborative Board, recognized the need to address this and decided to look for a program to help delay the age of onset of alcohol use.
A program, called the Strengthening Families Program (10-14), was found to help delay the age at which minors drink alcohol. The PAYS Survey results were then used in a grant showing the need for the program in McKean County. The results were a four year, $975,000 grant through PCCD to implement the Strengthening Families Program in each school district in McKean County. To view how this program is affecting families in McKean County, visit the website.